This and Tate D17164 (Turner Bequest CXCV a N), evidently executed at the same time, are difficult to relate to any known project. Neither is mentioned in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory.1 The ambitious subject with many figures engaged in fierce fighting, and indeed some individual passages, can be connected with Turner’s preoccupation with battle scenes around 1800; examples are to be found in the Calais Pier sketchbook, for example Tate D05067 (Turner Bequest LXXXI 165).
There is a slight related sketch on the verso (D41490).
See the ‘Miscellaneous Black and White’ grouping in A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, pp.597–8, CXCV a A–L, c.1810–20, with which the present work was associated when assigned a Turner Bequest number.
The sheet is stained and torn.